The assignments we got to choose from today were:
- Think of the last time you compared yourself to someone else and found yourself better. If you named the other and yourself, what names would you give? Miss Showing Too Much and Miss Just Right? Write down your own labels. Now make up labels with a time you found yourself wanting. What were you feeling insecure about? What was the judge trying to do for you? What new name might help you let go of any comparison and perfectionism?
- light a candle and set some quiet time aside to reflect and write on the answers to these questions:
- who am I
- When I watch children at a park or playground, what do I like? How do they remind me of myself? How am I different?
- If I could do anything I wanted for one year, what would I do? Write down the answers in detail starting with an ideal day. Now explore the ear and how it opens to you. Use listmaking and streaming.
- From the question above, name what qualities you would be using or developing in doing those things. How does that reflect your values?
- What other activities would strengthen these qualities? (For instance, self-initiative could be utilized in many situations.)
- What are three things I like to best about myself?
- What are three things I like in others?
- What would I like to develop more of in myself?
- What are three things I want people to remember about me?
- What makes me feel good when I reflect over my day?
- Finis the sentence, “I’m happy when _____________.”
- What makes me angry?
- Name three pleasurable life experiences. What did they teach you about yourself? Name three difficult life experiences? What did you learn about yourself?
- Ask three friends who you are? Write out and reflect on their answers?
- Sometimes someone comes into our lives and this person brings us closer to ourselves. Who has been an important mirror for you and what qualities did they bring out in you? How did that help you recognize yourself as you let go of old ways of thinking about yourself?
- Do a cluster using the word perfection. What other words appear? What do they mean to you?
- Write down any sensitive areas that result from criticism and an affirmation for each one. (An affirmation is a short and positive message to yourself such as “I am just the right size for me.”)
I have been really sitting with these questions for a while, not sure where I wanted to start. But then life kind of answered that for me. I was going to waif for my friends to tell me who I am, but I had a challenging situation today. Well let me say I had a situation today that I allowed to become challenging. I got a letter from the local paratransit agency today informing me that my doctor had not answered one of the questions on the recertification forms, so tomorrow 12/31/2010 will be my last day of services until all the information is received and re-evaluated, which can take up to 3 weeks. Let me just say that my initial feeling was not happy happy joy joy. I couldn’t even get a paratransit ride to take me to the doctor’s office, who by the way is out for the holidays until Monday if I wanted to today. So grateful for my wife, who lovingly offered to take the forms up there and then advocated on my behalf when they started to point out all the information I had failed to give them. So what did I learn about myself today besides I have great taste in partnersJ. I do love my wife. I learned that I could express my anger in a loving and compassionate manner. I am not sure that I really learned anything new, but realized at a more conscious level how much I value my independence. There is a real difference for me between not leaving the house or using my services, and not being able to leave the house because I do not have services. I came to realize how much I enjoy going out and being in the world and knowing my home is a place I come back to and experience love. I learned that I could think clearly in the midst of crisis. I also learned that I could speak and act more out of love for myself and what I needed, then out of fear and frustration around the situation. I could tell that they wanted to come out and take control, but the love part of my personality kept them under control.
I was thinking about just writing about the other two difficult situations in my life, when I heard my former therapist telling me not to be a “bottom feeder.” I used to so hate when she would say that. I never understood why therapists want you to spend the first part of your session telling them how wonderful your life is, rather then make the best use of your time and money and do solid work for 50 minutes on your stumbling blocks. So here is what I want to say to myself. There is not a right or wrong order for you to write about things. Just write what is in your heart. When it comes to feelings, there is not a right or a wrong, they are just feelings. So speak your truth gurl. J
I guess one of the most pleasurable life experiences has been the last nine years with Zoë. If somebody had told me nearly a decade ago, I would have found my soulmate online; I would have said you were crazy. We have been through so much together, good times and bad. We have been through the loss of three parents, one dog, four cats, three goldfish and a hamster, along with health challenges on both of our parts and the pursuit and achievement of two graduate degrees (ok, almost on Zoë’s part) and our love and commitment to each other is stronger now then it ever has been. one of the things I have learned from her is that I am worthy of being loved and one of the things I have learned about myself these last nine years is that I am a loving, caring, compassionate woman. I guess I have always known that at some level, but living with Zoë has helped me to become more so. I have also learned that I am a much stronger person then I ever realized. I am tough, maybe not physically, but spiritually I am a warriorJ.
Losing my father was one of the more difficult situations in my life. I thought losing my mom was hard, but I still had my dad to share stories with. When my dad passed over, there was a hole left in my life. He had become one of my best friends and staunchest supporters. We shared so much together. We worked through his nightmares together after my mom died and then we planned his funeral together when he was first diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Funeralizing him was one of the most difficult and pleasurable things I have ever done. Funeralizing my mom was the same way. Doing this for both of them was one more reminder of my spiritual strength. Having them in my life taught me I am worthy of being loved. To my parents I was special. I was an answer to their prayers. At a time when they were told they could not have children, I came into lives through a local adoption agency. Through them, I learned that children are not always born into your family through your womb, but through your heart.
I relearned this lesson when my son Nick came into my life and adopted me. The day we fell in love with each other over cheese and onion sandwiches is a day I will never forget. 18 years later, he is still in my life and he still brings me such joy. Loving him has taught me how to accept people just as they are. I had to love him more after he tried to bash my head in with a 2 x 4 when he was having flashbacks then I had ever had to love him before. I learned the power of being present. I learned the importance of being nurturing and affirming. But most of all, as he always tells me, I learned that I am an awesome mother. I may not be perfect, but I will always give him and all those who have since adopted me as their spiritual mother unconditional love and affirmation.
Through all of this, I have learned to always strive to be my best, knowing that my best varies from moment to moment. I have learned not to take what others say or do personally because it really is not about me. And I have learned how to love myself and my body for what it is right now, not what it was or what it will be, but what it is. Today, wherever I am in my journey is where I am supposed to be and am. Tomorrow is another day and a continuation of the journey.